Thursday, 20 January 2011

Salvador - Samba Capital

My bus arrived to Salvador in the middle of the night. Every time I read about Salvador, I always heard how dangerous it is, and how a tourist should be careful...I'm not saying I wasn't, I'm not saying you shouldn't...I just never felt like my life/belongings were at any risk.

Quickly finding a nice local from my bus to guide me through the ''getting to a hostel safely'' process, I found out there are no city-buses at this time, and my only option is to take a cab. Being very tired - I payed as much as it was (I bargained! off course I did!).

So...The next morning, I woke up early to search for a better place than the stinking HI hostel I spent the night in (Barra Hostel HI just sucks!), and found this Pousada owned by an Israeli couple called Pousada Marcus. I had my fun (alone) there, but it was a good thing I walk one evening along the beach and met my old friend Preetesh, because he connected me to the most awesome group of people, staying in the most awesome place in Salvador - Albergue Do Porto Yh. It's also an HI hostel in Barra, has the spirit of a backpacker in the first days of his trip. Maite, a proud worker of the place, made sure everyone finds what to do day/night. If it's laying om the beach, going for a boat ride to Itaparica, touring Pelorinho or just playing drinking games around the hostel's pool-table - she knew it all. On the beach - that day (remember I said I met Preetesh...), I got robbed. Horrible story. I cried three days over my worn-out Source-sandals...The first and only thing stolen from me in South America.

Also that evening, I met great people staying in Albergue Do Porto hostel. Yamit, was introduced to me by Preetesh because he found it funny that both of us were Israelis and together on the same beach - Obviously, his trip to South America was short...Visiting Yamit in her hostel I met all the rest...Alvaro (Argentina), Ivana (Brazil), Daniella (Brazil), Neto (Brazil), Jean (Canada). With the first five I got to hang out a lot!

We went together to Pelorinho day & night, so different and SO amazing...highly recommended. When walking around in Pelorinho, one feels like the streets are dancing with the people. From almost every house comes Samba music and people walking in the streets just can't help themselves from taking each-other's hands and dancing to the rhythm!
When in Salvador area, you can try the local Acaraje. A local dish, mixed from Vatapa, Caruru & Camarão (also local dishes...and shrimp).

The next day, we took a boat to the island of Itaparica. The advantage of spending your beach hours on an island and not on the urban beaches of Salvador is that it's a lot more quiet. Thanks to Neto, we always found ourselves drinking too much and very happy.
On our last day together, we took a long bus ride to Flamingo-beach. We for it to also be a quiet day on the beach, but it was a local holiday and so the beach was crowded...still had fun!

The communication between the people in our group was hard. Alavro mainly speaks Spanish. Neto & Daniella mainly speak Portuguese. Yamit knows Hebrew & English. Ivana speaks Portuguese, Spanish & English. I speak Hebrew, English & Spanish. Try making conversation with that!
Spending so much time together, I really bonded with all the group. Even though Ivana & I spent a whole lot of time translating sentences to the rest of the group - it was still fun (& funny) to see so many languages mixing and laughing around the same table.

This post is dedicated to all my friends from this trip, helping me fall in love with the world of languages - may we all be able to meet again someday and speak together - each in his own mother-tongue while the other understands every word coming out of ones mouth. Thank you.

Tips for Salvador Do Bahia:
- Albergue Do Porto Yh HI - Just the place to be in to meet good people and find what's to do & see.
- Pelorinho - The Historical town of Salvador is colorful and has a rhythm of its own - try spending the night there. Tuesday evenings are always special.
- Itaparica - most Israelis go to Morro de São-Paulo because it's more remote, if you don't have the time or don't want a whole lot of Israelis around you 24/7 - Itaparica is quiet and lovely for a day or more.
- Acaraje - A local dish I liked very much! You can also find the same dish served in other parts of Brazil, but every time I saw it (Rio de Janeiro, Brasilia, São-Paulo) it was as expensive as a stake! In Salvador it's considered to be the cheap-local food, and so, you find it everywhere, and costs nothing.

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